CARLISLE, Pa. (WHTM) – The Carlisle Borough Council passed an ordinance Thursday evening giving those in the LGBT community more protections against discrimination.
Hundreds of people packed inside Borough Hall for the council meeting, speaking out both for and against the ordinance.
Carlisle becomes the 37th municipality in Pennsylvania making adding protections for the LGBT community with a 5-2 vote.
Nancy Koenig came out as a lesbian in her 30s and feels relieved the ordinance passed.
“Now I’m out to the town, and it feels comfortable to know that Carlisle is going to be an open town to all people,” Koenig said
The “Human Rights Ordinance” makes it illegal to discriminate against someone due to sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression in housing, employment, and public accommodations. It creates a Human Rights Commission to investigate complaints.
Councilman Sean Crampsie proposed the ordinance.
“Carlisle is an open and accepting community. We’re open for business for everyone. Everyone can rent here, and we’re going to serve everyone in Carlisle. We’re not going to discriminate, and if you do discriminate, there’s going to an avenue for those discriminated against to now come to,” Crampsie said.
Religious organizations are exempt from the ordinance but individuals are not. Several business owners expressed concern about this at the meeting.
“What I fear most about this ordinance is that it will empower the LGBT community to punish me,” said Brad Wenger, of Wenger Meats & Ice.
“No, we’re not going to discriminate based on religion,” Crampsie said. “No matter what you believe in, no matter who you are, you’re going to have an opportunity in Carlisle.”
The ordinance will go into effect in March. York, Harrisburg, Lancaster, and Susquehanna Township have similar protections.